10 things I did in Amsterdam

Do you know this feeling, when it's all just to much and you just need to get out for a little while. I felt like this after a month with an exam each week. Although I not done yet with my Vorphysikum, I needed to take some time off, before returning to study mode again. 
I know myself well enough to say that I am better off, taking some free time after an exam to relax and enjoy life. I may have less time to learn for my upcoming tests, but I will be so much more efficient and motivated then. In the end I actually did more, in less time. 

After my third exam in week three, I felt this urge to leave it all behind. I just wanted to get out. Have something to get exited about. So I called my best friend, whom I had not seen in such a long time, because after our graduation we moved far away from our old lives in our old hometown. Unfortunately we picked the exact opposite direction. North & South. 

She is as spontaneously as me and so we booked our trip to Amsterdam the same day. 
Getting sucked up by my bio stuff, the exam was in 6 days, I banned all my usual travel planning urges to the back of my head. 

I passed bio ( yay!) had lunch with my group ( yum!) and went back to my apartment where my sea blue backpack awaited me. ( I'm in love with my fjåll raven baby <3 and will make a post about it and the advantages of traveling with a backpack soon.)
I threw some basics in, my sponge bag filled with all kinds of cream and shampoo samples and the spaghetti of tech devices that a modern human being needs these days. 

I took a train home to my family the same day and we all had sushi. At 11 o'clock I thought time was right to go sleep so I would wake up refreshed the next morning at 6 o'clock ( which is so not my time; I admire you early birds out there. I'm more like creature of the night/ maybe teatime.)
But of course everything went way to easy, so karma played me and my phone broke. I spent the next three hours transferring all my accounts, login data and contacts to my mothers old phone and then fell asleep. 5 hour s later and not so refreshed I woke up and was headed to the central train stations here I meet my friend.
There is something about old train stations in the early morning glooming in the eastern sunlight, the smell of fresh coffee, the rattling sound of newspaper getting picked up by busy people hurrying off to work and the puffing and squealing of trains. All those possibilities that are right in front of you. You just have to jump on.

My friend had also been busy the last week, so in the train was the first time we opened the travel guide to Amsterdam and did some research.
We outlined a few things we really wanted to see but quickly decided to let ourselves become part of the hustle and bustle of the city.

We arrived and quickly found our hotel which was small but nice. Floating by the docks of the Western Grachten. 
To bring my rambling to an end I will now list the 10 things I did and liked in Amsterdam. This is not at all a panacea, I haven't tried everything in just 4 days and 3 nights and represent all people. This is just a list to inspire you to visit this wonderful city.


I really loved this walk by the canal. It is about 4km long if you start at Brouwersgracht in the west and walk it all around the medieval city to the NEMO in the east. Most of my favorite places are on the way or near by and it is not to crowded (I'm not the one for really touristy places.) The richest merchants used to live there, so the houses are just amazing.

De Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Want to feel like your in a tropical paradise for only 5€ (if you're a student) ?
Visit the botanical garden in the east of Amsterdam. It is one of the oldest and was built in 1682 to host medical plants. they also have a small butterfly, an orchidee and a palm house. But by far my favorite thing ( in all of Amsterdam besides the food) was the 3 climate zones greenhouse. It really feels like being in a jungle. The air is humid and sooo warm, I took of my jacket. The scents carried me from the cold wintery city to some cozy, exotic place. In the dessert house next to it is the last of its kind Welwitschia mirabilis, a plant that gets up to 2000 years old!

De 9 Straatjes

9 little streets with lots of original, creative and mostly independent shops: You will find amazing boutiques, cute vintage-designer stores and of course relaxed and friendly cafes. I think its the perfect place to shop for gifts and special treats. This map here gives a good overview. 


Just the building by itself is extraordinaire. Inside are some of the most famous historic paintings in the world. Although the paintings from for Rembrandt and Vermeer are really great, I loves the Catwalk exhibition on the evolution of the dress the most. And check out the wonderful library too.
After so much input, I really needed time to process all the information and inspiration. Vondelpark  which is near by is the perfect place to relax afterwards. On your way there don't forget to take a quick picture with the huge I amsterdam letters behind the Rijksmuseum. 
Although my travel guide recommended buying tickets in advance, I got mine there and did not wait long. 

There is a small park, that is free behind it too!


Best place I had breakfast while staying in Amsterdam. The fresh scone with the homemade lemon curd and a fresh pressed carrot juice was to die for. The place is so cozy, you feel like home instantly. They offer lots of pastry choices and you will get an assortment of homemade jams.

Traiterie Chef 

It's said to have to best apple pie in town, but I actually think their carrot cake is even better. I tried both and just loved it. It is rather spiced than sweet and so tasty. Goes perfect with coffee. They also offer hearty quiches and pies.

DEKSELS! Lekkere dingen

Super tasty typical dutch open sandwiches, freshly pressed orange juice and a really fun and happy waitress. The Cafe, as a restaurant/bar is called in Amsterdam that serves drinks and small dishes, was completely full with locals, which is a good sign, right, and we were lucky that two people were just leaving.
It's open Tuesday to Monday 12:00 to 23:00 h and the trendy uprising neighborhood Jordaan is right over  the Brouwersgracht.

Second hand shops

There are lots of second hand shops, where you find unique and affordable pieces. I just love browsing through vintage clothing and dressing up funny. Here is a really helpful map if you are looking for some eye catchers.


It is a 19th century renovated former gas factory that now hosts exhibitions and fairs and is home to a cinema, a brewery, cafes and designer stores. 
It's located in park and has a great atmosphere. Unfortunately most shops close at 17:00.  
I had dinner at TROOST, a brewery where you can get a really good beer and burgers, flammkuchen and cheesecake. (No cash - you can only pay by card!!!)

Canal tour

Seeing to city from the water is a really great experience. You can just lean back and drink in all the flair of the beautiful Amsterdam merchant houses.
Lots of different canal tour operators start at Amsterdam Centraal (central station).


Shops open late and close early. Even in the big main streets.
Here are the regular shopping hours in Amsterdam from I amsterdam:

  • Monday: 13:00-18:00 (shops open later than usual)
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 09:00-18:00
  • Thursday: 09:00-21:00 (late-night shopping)
  • Sunday: 12:00-17:00 (This primarily applies to the shops on and near the Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat. In some of the other shopping streets, you may find that only a selection of the shops are open on Sundays).

There are trams, an hour ticket is 2,90€ but they do not go inside the Grachten Belt where you find most places of interest. I wanted to go from Hortus Botanicus to Westergasfabriek once and was really sore from all the walking, this was the only time I took a tram. Both lie outside de Grachten belt so it made sense, but I think most of the time walking through the picturesque streets or going by bike if you dare are much better options.

There are bicycles every where. I read that there are more bicycles in Amsterdam than people living there. they have there own ways and their own rules. You have to watch out for scooters. I saw 2 accidents happen on the same day. 
If its warm enough, I think exploring the city by bike is the smartest way, but only if you are used to cycling in a city.

There are Cafés everywhere, they serve Cake and Snacks, but especially drinks like a normal bar. Sometimes even restaurants are called Café. Bruin Cafés are quaint historic pub-like cafes, that seem like they have been taken out of a Rembrandt painting.
In the real dutch restaurants you pay at the counter, only in the touristy places the will bring you the bill.
The dutch people love gezelligheid ( translates: sociability) which means that cafe are like their second living room.
I have not been to a Coffeshop prsonally, but if you go beware that smoking tobacco is illegal in there. So either pure hasch or sometimes they have an extra room, where they don't serve.

Chocolonely, fairtrade chocolate founded by a dutch journalist is sooo good.

I hope I could inspire you for your next trip to Amsterdam!


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